Alumni Awards

Alumnus of the Year: John C. Richardson ’94

John Richardson is a 1994 Bryan College alumnus and graduate of Bryan’s MBA program, but John actually came to Bryan in 1972 with his parents Dr. Brian and Sharon Richardson. “Bryan was where I grew up, as well as where I went to school; it’s always been a significant part of my life,” he says. He discovered computers in the mathematics lab as a kid and taught himself BASIC to pass the time. Years later, he received a call from Bruce Beaty ’85 and Jon Klaus ’86, who remembered him playing with computers as a kid and offered him a job with their technology startup.

“Bryan taught me to think critically and working in tech during the ’90s taught me to adapt to change,” John says. John is now the CEO of Rheumatology Associates in Dallas, Texas. John has been married to Cathy, an attorney with homeland security, for nine years.

For the last two years he has participated with Bryan’s Business Department Advisory Board: “Bryan has never been far from my heart, but the advisory board has brought the opportunity to engage again with both students and faculty. I’m excited about the development of opportunities for alumni to engage with students. It gives an opportunity for Bryan alumni to participate helping students prepare for careers, as well as preparing to be servants of Christ.”

Young Alumnus of the Year: Jorge Oswaldo Vallejo ’06

Jorge Vallejo hails from Bogotá, Colombia. He attended Bryan College on an athletic scholarship, where he earned all-conference and all-region honors as a forward and attacking midfielder. He played in the Colombian Professional League (DIMAYOR-Lanceros de Boyaca, Chia FC) for three years before moving to the United States to continue his career at the United Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League. Jorge ended his career playing for the Philadelphia KIXX for three seasons (2007 to 2009), winning the national league in 2007.

While playing in Philadelphia, he served as the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) director for the inner city of Philadelphia, working with youth, athletes, and coaches. Currently he develops and directs FCA Soccer in Atlanta, using the platform of soccer to develop "TRANSFORMATIONAL" coaches from the pro to rec level. He believes soccer offers a platform for coaches to develop not only great players but great citizens of value, men and women of moral fiber who will go on to become change agents in the world.

Jorge has 10 years of coaching experience. Currently he assists the men's program at Georgia Gwinnett College. He holds a USSF (United States Soccer Federation) coaching license. Jorge spends the majority of his time serving Atlanta’s professional, college, club, high-school, and community soccer programs with mentoring and leadership training for their coaches and athletes. Jorge’s passion for soccer and people has taken him off the pitch and into the nations to speak on matters of life, faith, leadership, identity, and character development. Jorge and his beautiful wife, Brittany, live in Buford, Ga., with their four children, Nehemiah (8), Georgia Joy (6), Moriah Grace (4), and Isaiah Victor (1).

Honorary Alumna of the Year: Valerie Castlen

Valerie Castlen is the manager of the mailroom and campus store at Bryan College. She and her husband, Tony, grew up in Florida, where they dated all through high school. In 1971 Tony enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. They were married that September. In 1975 he was discharged from the military, and they moved to Tennessee from Tampa, Fla., where they were stationed at MacDill AFB.

That fall Tony enrolled at Bryan to pursue a degree in music. Music has always been an important part of their lives and ministry as they serve the Lord together, sharing their testimony through songs (most of which are originals). Tony graduated from Bryan in 1980 and was hired that summer as the band director at Dayton City School. Four years later Valerie started working in the Bryan mailroom, where she says, “I have had the privilege to serve for 35 years. I have enjoyed helping and interacting with the students and getting to know so many of them. And I love being part of the Bryan family.”

Valerie and Tony have been married 48 years and have two children. They have been richly blessed with six grandchildren who keep them delightfully busy. Their son, Steve, and his family live in Nashville, and their daughter, Amy, and her family live in Dayton.

Sports Hall of Fame: Robin Renfro ’08 (Volleyball)

During her time at Bryan Robin Renfro ’08 earned several awards, including several NCCAA, NAIA, and AAC distinctions, along with many honorable mentions: 2006: NCCAA Mid-East Region First Team, NAIA All-American Honorable Mention, NAIA All Region First Team, AAC All Conference First Team 2007: NCCAA All-American First Team, NCCAA Mid-East Region First Team, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics(NAIA) All Region First Team, AAC All Conference First Team 2008: National Christian College Athletic Association(NCCAA) Mid-East Region First Team, American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All Region Honorable Mention, Appalachian Athletic Conference(AAC) All Conference First Team. Sports Hall of Fame: Amber Smith ’10 (Volleyball, Basketball) During her senior year in volleyball Amber Smith ’10 was an AVCA/NAIA All-American Honorable Mention selection, made the AVCA All-Region first team, and was selected the AAC Player of the Year. She guided the Lions to the most wins in a single season (31), Bryan’s first AAC Regular Season Championship, and their first appearance in the NCCAA National Championships Final Four, where she was named
to the All-Tournament team as well.

Sports Hall of Fame: Scott Newton ’11 (Basketball)

During his time on the basketball court, Scott Newton ’11 posted 1,408 career points and 678 career rebounds. Highlighting his efforts were two 30-point performances. His offensive and defensive prowess helped guide the team to first- and second-place finishes in the conference his final two seasons. He also represented the men’s basketball program as a Champions of Character Award winner.